A confluence of things has occurred recently. I had the occasion to speak to a group of NASA Enterprise Architects. I’m sure that it is no coincidence that I’ve been spending some sleepless nights thinking about NASA’s IT Infrastructure Integration Program (I3P) and its hope of a kinder, safer, and more cost effective world. And in a final trifecta of synchronicity, I ran across a delightfully satirical book titled, How to Rule the World: Handbook for an Aspiring Dictator, by André de Guillaume.
Let me step back a bit and offer a simple definition for Enterprise Architecture that is not spoken in the dribble of IT jargon. In simplest terms, it is a planning framework that describes how the technology assets of an organization connect and operate. It also describes what the organization needs from the technology. And finally, it describes the set of activities required to meet the organizational needs. Oh, and I should also say it operates in a context of a process for setting priorities, making decisions, informing those decisions, and delivering results called – IT Governance.
The author makes four major points in the book:
· It is possible to rule the world
· You can create the greatest empire ever known
· You can subdue all nations under your colors
· You can change the course of history
The parallels to Enterprise Architecture track to these points:
· It is possible to manage IT as an Enterprise.
· You can use the Enterprise Architecture to plan and manage the kinder, safer, more cost effective IT world.
· Transformational projects will successful and deliver desired results.
· IT can be a key strategic enabler of NASA’s goals.
The more arcane Enterprise Architects will probably disagree with what is likely an oversimplification. They should be ignored as the evil despots they are. Others will miss the satirical point and view this as geeky babble. The book suggests blackmail and torture to win their hearts and minds. I won’t go there; at least not yet.
Well … deep breaths … using Enterprise Architecture to rule the world … hum. I better cut this short; I need to go and come up with a name for my country and commission a flag.
Linda Cureton, CIO, NASA